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Operator’s Licensing introduced in Northern Ireland

From 1 July 2012, all vehicles in Northern Ireland with a gross weight over 3500kg that are used to transport goods as part of a business or trade must be covered by an Operator’s Licence.  Prior to this only hire and reward hauliers have been required to have an O Licence and own-account operators have been exempt.

The Department of the Environment’s Transport Regulation Unit (TRU) in Northern Ireland issues operator licences and holds public hearings on all matters pertaining to operator licensing.  It seeks to ensure that all licence holders meet the standards set for entry into the commercial vehicle operator industry whilst minimising the environmental and road safety impact around goods vehicles operating centres. The Department have the power to curtail, suspend and revoke operator licences. In extreme cases the Department can disqualify people from holding an operator’s licence.

There are 3 types of operator’s licence available:

1. Restricted Licence – for those who only carry their own goods or materials in connection with their trade or business. This licence covers all transport operations in the UK.

2. Standard (National) Licence – for those who carry their own goods or materials in connection with their trade or business and/or carry goods for hire or reward. This licence covers all transport operations in the UK. A Transport Manager CPC qualification is required to be held by somebody in or employed by the company.

3. Standard (International) Licence – same as above except this licence covers transport operations throughout Europe.

Vehicles that are badly maintained or non-compliant with the regulations will be forced to either put it right or lose their licence. This will improve the image of the industry and create a level playing field for all.

The change was being brought in as part of the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators Act), as part of the territory’s protracted licensing shake-up.

More information is available on the Department of the Environment website.

Posted on: 02.07.2012

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